Solidarity

Solidarity is a fuzzy concept, an appealing word with many meanings. It may simply refer to a fellow feeling for people within your own community. Or it may suggest taking action together with other people to advance your shared goals and strategies.

But there is a stronger meaning of solidarity, essential to the struggle for human rights: solidarity with those whose rights are being violated or those asserting their rights in the face of grave danger. We join them in solidarity, not because we are part of their group, and not because we agree with them on strategy. We answer their calls for support because they are oppressed, and they aim to throw-off that oppression.

The most demanding sort of solidarity requires both a call for specific support and a deferential response. How we call for support, and how we answer such a call are both crucial to this rigorous practice of solidarity, and this is what the Symposium explores.

Who should defer to whom when deciding on strategies in response to rights violations, and why? When and how should frontline human rights organizations call for such solidarity and expect deference from their local and global supporters? When should other human rights organizations answer such a call?  In short, how can we invigorate a strong practice of solidarity?